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Accession Number DE2012-1045709
Title How Can We Make PV Modules Safer.
Publication Date Jun 2012
Media Count 6p
Personal Author J. H. Wohlgemuth S. R. Kurtz
Abstract Safety is a prime concern for the photovoltaics (PV) industry. As a technology deployed on residential and commercial buildings, it is critical that PV not cause damage to the buildings nor harm the occupants. Many of the PV systems on buildings are of sufficiently high voltage (300 to 600 Volts dc) that they may present potential hazards. These PV systems must be safe in terms of mechanical damage (nothing falls on someone), shock hazard (no risk of electrical shock when touching an exposed circuit element), and fire (the modules neither cause nor promote a fire). The present safety standards (IEC 61730 and UL 1703) do a good job of providing for design rules and test requirements for mechanical, shock, and spread of flame dangers. However, neither standard addresses the issue of electrical arcing within a module that can cause a fire. To make PV modules, they must be designed, built, and installed with an emphasis on minimizing the potential for open circuits and ground faults. This paper provides recommendations on redundant connection designs, robust mounting methods, and changes to the safety standards to yield safer PV modules.
Keywords Commercial buildings
Fire hazards
Photovoltaic modules
Safety standards
Solar energy

Source Agency Technical Information Center Oak Ridge Tennessee
NTIS Subject Category 97N - Solar Energy
89 - Building Industry Technology
Corporate Author National Renewable Energy Lab., Golden, CO.
Document Type Technical report
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1226
Contract Number DE-AC36-08GO28308

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